Penn State (2-9-2, 0-6) traveled to East Lansing to take on the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans (10-2-2, 4-0-2) on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions were unable to muster up much offense on a soaked pitch, ultimately falling to Michigan State 1-0.
How It Happened
The rain, which apparently started coming down in Michigan at 5 a.m., had absolutely drenched the field by game time. Passes were literally stopping halfway to their targets, and players had a difficult time keeping the ball at their feet while making runs. You could almost feel the wet socks through the TV.
Both sides played very narrowly, and long passes across the wet surface basically were not an option. The match was played with compact formations and required a quick adaption to the weather.
In the 12’, Penn State’s Aaron Malloy nearly channeled his inner Paul Scholes with a laser from about 25 yards out that just skimmed over the crossbar.
Michigan State took a 1-0 lead in the 30’, as Sierakowski netted his fifth goal of the season for the Spartans. Some shaky defensive play in the box and a nice pass across the face of goal allowed the Michigan State forward to waltz into goal. The Spartans took this lead into halftime.
The rain certainly didn’t slow up in the second half, but both sides seemed somewhat used to crazy conditions. The first twenty minutes of the second half played out as a stalemate, with neither side putting together many impressive attacking plays.
Ethan Beckford was shown a yellow card in the 75’ after four fouls – and some of the more physical variety – were enough for the referee to draw the line.
Michigan won the first corner of the game with fewer than 10 minutes left in the match. That stat alone is indicative of the pace of the match. Of course, the weather was largely to blame for the slow pace.
With five minutes left in the match, Sload found himself unattended just in front of goal, but couldn’t bury a header from a driven cross. In the end, despite a strong push right at the end, the Nittany Lions couldn’t get that equalizing goal.
Player of the Match
Ryan Sierakowski | Junior | Forward
The Spartans’ forward was able to come up with the only goal of the match, but consistently found himself in great positions.
The Nittany Lions will travel to New Jersey to take on Rutgers on Sunday, October 22 at 1 p.m.